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When the Time is Right: Testing for Dynamic Effects in Collaborative Performance

Germà Bel () and Thomas Elston ()
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Thomas Elston: University of Oxford.

No 202212, IREA Working Papers from University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics

Abstract: Organizations develop collaborative relationships in order to manage external interdependencies that are consequential for performance. Econometric research has tested whether such collaboration brings improved performance among public service providers, often finding beneficial – albeit contingent – effects, but with significant unexplained variance in some results. Focusing on the case of inter-municipal cooperation, we investigate whether robustness and model fit can be improved by including variables related to time. Specifically, drawing on theories of environmental dynamism, organizational inertia, accountability “drift,” and isomorphism, we examine how age of collaboration and timing of reform affect the financial performance of solid waste collection partnerships in the Spanish region of Catalonia over the period 2000-2019. We find that, though still present and significant, the cost advantages of intermunicipal cooperation decline over this period due to increased intra-municipal demand and, hence, reduced external interdependence. Timing of reform adoption has no effect on outcomes; although the attributes and policy objectives of early-adopter and follower groups differ.

Keywords: Collaborative public management; Organization theory; Inter-municipal cooperation; Inter-organizational relations; Local government; Shared services. JEL classification: H77; L38; R59. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 48 pages
Date: 2022-07, Revised 2022-07
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